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The Culture and Traditions of Illinois – A Historical Guide

Illinois Cultural History

Discover the vibrant history of Illinois – from early tribes to modern day customs. Learn about the traditions of “The Prairie State”.

Fascinating Aspects of Early Illinois Cultural History Below:

  • Columbian Exposition (World’s Fair) of 1893,
  • Folklore,
  • Journalism, Magazines, & Newspapers,
  • Music,
  • School and University Education,
  • Museums & Libraries,
  • Chicago Historical Society,
  • Art,
  • Literature & Writers,
  • Theater & Movies,
  • Architecture & City Planning,
  • Sports (Professional & University of Illinois),
  • Illinois Trivia,
  • Cemeteries,
  • “Chicago School” Economists.

Report of the Illinois Woman’s Exposition Board, from 1891 to 1894

Chicago: Illinois Woman’s Exposition Board 1895

Official Catalogue of the Illinois Woman’s Exposition Board

Chicago: Columbian Exposition 1893

The Illinois Woman’s Exposition Board was established by the Illinois state legislature during preparations for the Columbian Exposition, which took place in Chicago in 1893.
The Board’s objective was to display the achievements of Illinois women in a variety of fields, as explained in detail in the post-Exposition Report.

The Catalogue lists Illinois women who were identified in each field for their achievements, and contains information about the works that were highlighted. The first chapter, “Literature”, has an alphabetical list of Illinois women who had authored books, or articles in magazines and newspapers. A second list in that chapter contains the same information, arranged by subject. Other chapters in the catalogue cover works displayed in the categories of “Fine Arts”, “Decorative Art”, and “Practical Arts”.

See also: Books about 19th Century American Women Authors

See the Menu at the top of every page for Directories of Free Online Fiction and NonFiction Books, Magazines, and more, on 400 pages like this at Century Past

Legends & Lore of Southern Illinois

Allen, John W.
Carbondale: Southern Illinois University 1963

In the 1950s and ‘60s, John W. Allen told the people of southern Illinois about themselves—about their region, its history, and its folkways—in his series of newspaper articles, “It Happened in Southern Illinois.” Each installment of the series depicted a single item of interest—a town, a building, an enterprise, a person, an event, a custom. ‘Legends & Lore of Southern Illinois’ brings together a selection of these articles preserving a valuable body of significant local history and cultural lore.
There are stories here of slaves and their masters, criminals, wandering peddlers, politicians, law courts and vigilantes, and of boat races on the rivers. Allen also looks at the region’s earlier history, describing American Indian ruins, monuments, and artifacts as well as the native population’s encounters with European settlers.
Many of the vestiges of the region’s past culture have all but disappeared, surviving only in museums and in the written record. ‘Legends & Lore of Southern Illinois’ brings that past culture to life again in Allen’s descriptive, engaging style.

Also see: History of Illinois Cities, Counties & Regions and Illinois General History

Story of Chicago in Connection with the Printing Business

Chicago: Regan Printing House 1912

Printing industry — History — Illinois — Chicago, Chicago (Ill.) Printing industry — Illinois — Chicago.

Read thriller books online free at our fiction page

“Early Music and Musicians in Illinois”

Transactions of the Illinois State Historical Library 1931, 60-77

Armstrong, W. D.
Springfield: Board of Trustees of the Illinois State Historical Library

A survey that covers the nineteenth century and the early years of the twentieth.

“The Expansion of Higher Education in Illinois”

Transactions of the Illinois State Historical Library 1925, 41-53

Babcock, Kendric C. PhD
Springfield: Board of Trustees of the Illinois State Historical Library

A concise account covering 1825-1865.

See our Illinois historic documents

“Working-Class Periodicals in Chicago”

Illinois History Teacher Vol 14, No. 1, 2007, pp 24-28

Bekken, Jon
Springfield: Illinois Historic Preservation Agency

“The Development of the Free Public High School in Illinois to 1860” 1st Issue

2nd Issue

Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society Volume 11 No. 3 Oct 1918 269-369; Volume 11 No. 4 Jan 1919 467-565

Belting, Paul E.
Springfield: Illinois State Historical Society

This article appears in two installments, which do not coincide with the two parts of the paper. Part and chapter headings are:

Part 1 – The Academy
– Historical Background – Early Education in Illinois – Administrative Organization and Support – Religious Influence – Some Internal Features – Manual Labor Aspect

Part 2 – The Common School
– The Apprenticeship System – The Free School Law of 1825 – The Movement of 1835 – Some Agencies that Aided in the Development and Establishment of the Common School – The Free School Law of 1855 – The Beginnings and the Characteristics of the Free Public High School by 1860 – The Establishment of the Free Public High School – A Summary of Some Earlier Influences Affecting Later Development and Practice – Summary and Conclusion

History of Music and Art in Illinois

including portraits and biographies of the cultured men and women who have been liberal patrons of the higher arts

Bennett, Frances Cheney
Philadelphia: Historical 1904

Music–Illinois, Art–Illinois.

“The Chicago Novel, 1890-1915”

Illinois History Teacher Vol 7, No. 2, 2000, pp 15-19

Bray, Robert
Springfield: Illinois Historic Preservation Agency

Rediscoveries: Literature and Place in Illinois

Bray, Robert C.
University of Illinois 1982

American literature–Illinois–History and criticism, Authors, American–Homes and haunts–Illinois.

The World’s Fair, Being a Pictorial History of the Columbian Exposition

A complete history of the world-renowned exposition at Chicago; captivating descriptions of the magnificent buildings and marvelous exhibits, such as works or art, textile fabrics, machinery, natural products, the latest inventions, discoveries, etc. with a description of Chicago, its wonderful buildings, parks, etc., including a chapter on the woman’s department. Embellished with hundreds of beautiful engravings

Cameron, William
Grand Rapids: Farrell 1893

The Theatre on the Frontier; the Early Years of the St. Louis Stage

Carson, William G.
Chicago: Univ. of Chicago. 1932

While this book covers St. Louis rather than Illinois, it describes cultural life and theater in the west from about 1815 to 1839, names and describes many of the popular plays at the time, and discusses the traveling companies of actors. The appendix lists the many plays performed in St. Louis during these years. Chapter headings are:

-In the nature of a prologue -Amateur nights, 1814-17 -“Pioneers! O Pioneers!” 1818-19 -The coming of Ludlow and Drake, 1820 -Feasts and famines, 1820-26 -Caldwell takes over the Salt House, 1827-28 -The stars come out, 1829-31 -The Salt House in its glory, 1832-35 -A famous partnership is formed, 1835-36 -The first real theatre, 1837 -“The Winter of our Discontent,” 1838
-A season of spectacles, 1838 -A tree, a forest, and a galaxy, 1839 -On the eve of the fabulous forties, 1839 -By way of an epilogue -Appendix -Bibliography

Lists of Books and Periodicals

Chicago Literary Club Library

A History of the Illinois State Normal University, Normal, Illinois

Cook, John W. and McHugh, James V.
Normal, IL: 1882

Illinois State Normal University–History.

Chicago, 1910-29: Building, Planning, and Urban Technology

Condit, Carl W.
University of Chicago 1973

Urban renewal–Illinois–Chicago–History, City planning–Illinois–Chicago–History, Architecture–Illinois–Chicago–History.

The Chicago School of Architecture: A History of Commercial and Public Building in the Chicago Area, 1875-1925

Condit, Carl W.
University of Chicago 1964

This thoroughly illustrated classic study traces the history of the world-famous Chicago school of architecture from its beginnings with the functional innovations of William Le Baron Jenney and others to their imaginative development by Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright. The Chicago School of Architecture places the Chicago school in its historical setting, showing it at once to be the culmination of an iron and concrete construction and the chief pioneer in the evolution of modern architecture. It also assesses the achievements of the school in terms of the economic, social, and cultural growth of Chicago at the turn of the century, and it shows the ultimate meaning of the Chicago work for contemporary architecture.

See our Art History PDF

Hollywood on Lake Michigan: 100+ Years of Chicago and the Movies

Corcoran, Michael
Chicago Review 2013

Ranging from the dawn of the silent era to today s blockbusters and independent films, this revamped second edition chronicles the significant contributions by Chicago and Chicagoans to more than a century of American filmmaking. Among the Windy City s unique honors in this history are the development of film technology by early major players Essanay Film Manufacturing Company and the Selig Polyscope Company; the first African Americanowned and operated film studios; the birthplace of gore flicks; the origination and growth of movie palaces; and the importance of the Second City, Goodman, and Steppenwolf theaters as training grounds for the industry s best comedic and dramatic talent. Readers will relish behind-the-scenes stories of local favorites like The Blues Brothers and Ferris Bueller s Day Off, as well as recent box office smashes like Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. Motion picture industry–Illinois–Chicago–History.

Download Classic Books PDF

Illinois Trivia

Cromie, Robert
Rutledge Hill 1992

Illinois Trivia is the who, what, when, where, and how book of the great state of Illinois. Filled with interesting questions and answers about well-known and not-so-well-known facts of this colorful, historic state, Illinois Trivia will provide hours of entertainment and education. designed for use in a wide variety of settings―home, office, school, parties―it focuses on the history, culture, people, and places of the fascinating state of Illinois. Illinois Trivia is readily adaptable for use with trivia format games. Illinois–Miscellanea.

Chicago’s Museums

A Complete Guide to the City’s Cultural Attractions

Danilov, Victor J.
Chicago: Chicago Review Press 1991

Includes art museums and galleries, historical houses, conservatories and arboretums, religious and ethnic museums, zoos, children’s museums, aquariums, planetariums and observatories, nature centers.

Old Chicago Houses

Drury, John
Chicago: University of Chicago 1975

“More than an architectural survey, this sprightly work is a social history of the people who contributed to Chicago’s story. Photos of 100 houses, between 30-40 of which are staniding today, are complemented by fascinating tales of their colorful occupants.” – Book cover. This is a compilation of the author’s weekly articles in the Chicago Daily News.

See our free books on Illinois economic topics

Chicago: Creating New Traditions

Duis, Perry
Chicago Historical Society 1976

City planning–Illinois–Chicago, Chicago (Ill.)–Civilization, Chicago (Ill.)–Social conditions, Chicago (Ill.)–Commerce.

“Newspapers on the Illinois Frontier”

Illinois History Teacher Vol 6, No. 1, 1999, pp 51-56

Edstrom, James A.
Springfield: Illinois Historic Preservation Agency

Art and Handicraft in the Woman’s Building of the World’s Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893

Elliot, Maud Howe, ed.
Chicago: Rand, McNally 1894

Heavily illustrated. World’s Columbian Exposition (1893 : Chicago, Ill.), Women artists–Exhibitions.

Magazines of a Market-Metropolis

Being a History of the Literary Periodicals and Literary Interests of Chicago. A Dissertation

Fleming, Herbert E.
Chicago: University of Chicago 1906

A Reprint of Papers Entitled “The Literary Interests of Chicago,” from The American Journal of Sociology, Vols. XI and XII, Chicago, 1906. [The volume numbers and page numbers used in the journal were also used in this reprint, and are shown below in the Table of Contents.] Press–Illinois–Chicago.

Table of Contents:
I. The Pioneer Periodicals of Prairie Days, 1845-1862 XI, 377
II. Periodical Literature Following the War 1865-1871 XI, 396
III. Literary Periodicals Following the Chicago Fire, 1871-1880 XI, 499
IV. Journals for Letters in the Market-Metropolis, 1880-90 XI, 512
V. Esthetic Periodicals of the World’s Fair City, 1890-1900 XI, 784
VI. The Commercialized Magazines of a Cosmopolitan Center, 1900 to Date XII, 68
VII. Summary of General Conclusions, Including Statistics of the Periodicals XII, 112

Stadium Stories: Chicago Bears: Great Moments in Team History

Freedman, Lew
Insiders’ Guide 2006

Professional sports–Illinois–Chicago–History, Sports franchises–Illinois–Chicago–History.

The Neighborhood of Baseball: A Personal History of the Chicago Cubs

Gifford, Barry
Dutton 1981

Chicago Cubs (Baseball team)–History.

“Carl Sandburg, Poet with Attitude”

Illinois History Teacher Vol 13, No. 1, 2006, pp 27-30

Guillory, Dan
Springfield: Illinois Historic Preservation Agency

Illinois Authors and A Literary Map of Illinois

Hook, J. N.; Burkhart, Ellen and Lane, Louise
Urbana, IL: Illinois Association of Teachers of English 1952

American literature — Illinois, Authors, American — Illinois.

Graveyards of Chicago: The People, History, Art, and Lore of Cook County Cemeteries

Hucke, Matt and Bielski, Ursula
Lake Claremont 2013

Charting the lore and lure of Chicago’s ubiquitous burial grounds, this resource unearths the legends and legacies that mark the city’s silent citizens—from larger-than-lifers and local heroes to machine mayors and machine-gunners. The book demonstrates that Chicago’s cemeteries are home not only to thousands of individuals who fashioned the city’s singular culture and character, but also to impressive displays of art and architecture, landscaping and limestone, egoism and ethnic pride. Mysterious questions such as Where is Al Capone buried? and What really lies beneath home plate at Wrigley Field? are answered in this reminder that although physical life must end, personal notes—and notoriety—last forever. 168 Photos. Cemeteries–Illinois–Cook County–History–Miscellanea, Cook County (Ill.)–History, Local–Miscellanea.

A Bibliography of Newspapers Published in Illinois Prior to 1860

James, Edmund J., compiler
Springfield: Philips. 1899

For online historic Illinois newspapers, see: Illinois History Periodicals: Magazines, Historical Journals & Newspapers
For online collections of historical newspapers from throughout the U.S., see: Section 071.1 United States in Newspapers: Free Online Collections American newspapers–Illinois.

“Literature and Literary People of Early Illinois”

Transactions of the Illinois State Historical Society for the Year 1908 No. 13, pp123-139

Jamison, Isabel
Springfield: Illinois State Journal 1909

The article is a concise history of publishing in the west through the 1830s and especially Illinois, naming numerous early writers and their books and adding biographical background for many. Some of the more significant works of the 1840s and early 1850s are also here.

“The Subscription School and the Seminary in Pioneer Days”

Transactions of the Illinois State Historical Society 1925, pp 54-59

Johnson, Charles B.
Springfield: Illinois State Historical Society

A personal account of educational experience before the advent of tax-supported schools.

Some mid-19th Century school textbooks are at: Great Lakes Region Cultural History: Education, the Arts

See our Mystery Books PDF

Chicago Boxing

Johnston, J. J. and Curtin, Sean
Arcadia 2004

“Professor” Mike Donovan, Battling Nelson-“The Durable Dane,” and “Stockyards” Harold Smith– their stories are as colorful as their names. Chicago’s boxing history is as exciting and unpredictable as any prize fight within the ring. Some of the most memorable bouts–great, infamous or otherwise–took place in the city’s clubs, parks and arenas, and Chicago has seen its share of champions and top contenders over the years. The Gans-McGovern fight in 1900–the “Big Fix”–set the sport back 25 years in Chicago. The “Long Count” between Tunney and Dempsey, in 1927, may still be the most controversial bout of all time. Chicago Boxing is a story not only of great boxers, but of the fans who embraced them, the promoters who made them big, and even a few mob bosses who made good on their talent. Boxing–Illinois–Chicago–History.

See our free Illinois travel books

Historical Sketches of the Public School System of the City of Chicago to the Close of the School Year 1878-79

Johnston, Shepherd
Chicago: Clark & Edwards 1880

This short history of 80 pages begins with some descriptions of the earliest schools in the mid-1830s. Much of the book is concerned with implementation of state and local education legislation, and school system administration issues from the 1840s onward. There are also brief profiles of Chicago high schools in the 1870s and lists of the graduates. Education–Illinois–Chicago–History, Public schools–Illinois–Chicago–History.

Building Chicago: Suburban Developers and the Creation of a Divided Metropolis

Keating, Ann Durkin
University of Illinois 2002

The modern suburbanite lives among manicured lawns, shopping centers, and public schools with private school reputations. Socially and economically dependent on the city, but autonomously governed, suburban life ostensibly offers the best of both worlds. In Building Chicago, Ann Durkin Keating offers a fascinating account of the birth and growth of Chicago’s suburbs, the governments that developed to service them, and the ideas that guided early urban development. With precision and striking detail, Keating documents the progress and failure of suburbs under their chosen governments and argues that Chicago, as a case study, is representative of the suburban landscapes of major metropolitan areas across the country. In its first paperback edition, Building Chicago includes a comprehensive photographic essay by the author. Suburbs–Illinois–Chicago–History–19th century. Local government–Illinois–Cook County–History–19th century.

Chicago Jazz: A Cultural History, 1904-1930

Kenney, William Howland
Oxford University 1993

The setting is the Royal Gardens Cafe. It’s dark, smoky. The smell of gin permeates the room. People are leaning over the balcony, their drinks spilling on the customers below. On stage, King Oliver and Louis Armstrong roll on and on, piling up choruses, the rhythm section building the beat until tables, chairs, walls, people, move with the rhythm. The time is the 1920s. The place is South Side Chicago, a town of dance halls and cabarets, Prohibition and segregation, a town where jazz would flourish into the musical statement of an era. In Chicago Jazz, William Howland Kenney offers a wide-ranging look at jazz in the Windy City, revealing how Chicago became the major center of jazz in the 1920s, one of the most vital periods in the history of the music. He describes how the migration of blacks from the South to Chicago during and after World War I set the stage for the development of jazz in Chicago; and how the nightclubs and cabarets catering to both black and white customers provided the social setting for jazz performances.
Here is a new interpretation of Chicago jazz that reveals the role of race, culture, and politics in the development of this daring musical style. From black-and-tan cabarets and the Savoy Ballroom, to the Friars Inn and Austin High, Chicago Jazz brings to life the hustle and bustle of the sounds and styles of musical entertainment in the famous toddlin’ town. Jazz–Illinois–Chicago–History and criticism. Popular culture–Illinois–Chicago.

The Game is Never Over: An Appreciative History of the Chicago Cubs, 1948-1980

Langford, Jim
Icarus 1980

Chicago Cubs (Baseball team)–History.

Black Baseball in Chicago

Lester, Larry
Arcadia 2000

When the Negro National League was formed in Kansas City in 1920, a new chapter in sports history began. The city of Chicago played no small part in the creation and content of this historic chapter. Black Baseball in Chicago chronicles the history of the teams and players that spent time in the “Windy City.” In 1911, the Chicago American Giants were born. This team drew some of the best players from the league, including such legendary stars as Bruce Petway, Pete Hill, Grant “Home Run” Johnson, and future hall-of-famer John Henry “Pop” Lloyd. On any given Sunday afternoon, the Chicago American Giants games often outdrew those of the cross-town rivals, the White Sox and the Cubs. African American baseball players — Pictorial works — History — Illinois — Chicago, Chicago (Ill.).

The Armchair Companion to Chicago Sports

Lindberg, Richard
Cumberland House 1997

A fun-filled book that brings together for the first time the significant events in Chicago sports history. In addition to baseball, football, basketball, and hockey, it covers such minor”” sports as tennis, ice-skating, golf, bowling, horseracing, running, and sailing. This is a look at the athletes, their accomplishments, and the games they played.” Sports–Illinois–Chicago–Miscellanea.

Books on film history

Chicago Interiors: Views of a Splendid World

Lowe, David
Contemporary Books 1979

Interior decoration–Illinois–Chicago–History–19th century. Interior decoration–Illinois–Chicago–History–20th century. Interior architecture–Illinois–Chicago.

Lost Chicago

Lowe, David
Watson-Guptill 2000

These dazzling, poignant pages recreate the magical built environment that thrilled generations of Chicago residents and visitors alike before falling victim to the wrecking ball of “progress.” Here are the grand residences and hotels, opulent theaters, legendary trains, and state-of-the-art office buildings and department stores—including the world’s first skyscraper. Here too are the famous convention halls, parks, and racetracks of a great American city whose architectural treasures have been, and continue to be, recklessly squandered. Rare photographs and prints, many of them published here for the first time, document the transformative architectural achievements of such giants as Dankmar Adler, Louis Sullivan, John Wellburn Root, Daniel Burnham, William Holabird, … Lost architecture–Illinois–Chicago. Chicago (Ill.)–Buildings, structures, etc.

Chicago Historical Society Library, 1856-1906: A Handbook

McIlvaine, Caroline Margaret
Chicago: Chicago Historical Society 1906

Libraries — Illinois — Chicago.

A Guide to 150 Years of Chicago Architecture

Museum of Science and Industry
Chicago Review 1985

This book “was commissioned by the Museum of Science and Industry to accompany its expanded presentation of the travelling exhibition, “150 Years of Chicago Architecture”. -Introduction. Architecture–Illinois–Chicago. Chicago (Ill.)–Buildings, structures, etc.

Contents: Introduction – Panorama: 1830-1869 – 1870-1879 – 1880-1889 – 1890-1899 – 1900-1909 – 1910-1919 – 1920-1929 – 1930-1939 – 1940-1949 – 1950-1959 – 1960-1969 – 1970-1979 – 1980-1985 – Masters: Bertrand Goldberg – Walter Netsch – Harry Weese – In exile at home – Current architects – A guide to the exhibition

“Elijah Lovejoy, Antislavery, & Freedom of the Press

Illinois History Teacher Vol 14, No. 1, 2007, pp 38-41

Nerone, John
Springfield: Illinois Historic Preservation Agency

Illinois Trivia Illustrated

Nunes, Bill
Corley 2005

“An Outline of the History of Architecture in Illinois”

Transactions of the Illinois State Historical Library 1931 124-143

O’Donnell, Thomas Edward
Springfield: Board of Trustees of the Illinois State Historical Library

Also see:
– Baas, Christopher, “Concrete in the Steel City: Constructing Thomas Edison’s House for the Working Man” in Indiana Cultural History
Cameron, William, The World’s Fair, Being a Pictorial History of the Columbian Exposition in Illinois Cultural History;
Varney, Almon C., Our Homes and their Adornments, or, How to Build, Finish, Furnish, and Adorn a Home in Michigan Cultural History
Guth, Alexander Carl, “Early Day Architects in Milwaukee” in Wisconsin Cultural History

“Recording the Early Architecture of Illinois in the Historic American Buildings Survey”

Transactions of the Illinois State Historical Society for the Year 1934 pp. 185-213

O’Donnell, Thomas E.
Springfield: Illinois State Historical Library

This article from the 1930s describes the Historic Buildings Survey that was then being carried out in Illinois, discusses in very general terms the early architectural styles found in Illinois, then goes on to name many of the significant buildings that had recently been identified in the Historic Building Survey for preservation. The author briefly describes them and explains why they were selected. There are 18 photos included.

The Chicago School: How the University of Chicago Assembled the Thinkers who Revolutionized Economics and Business

Overtveldt, Johan van
Agate 2007

When Richard Nixon said “We are all Keynesians now” in 1971, few could have predicted that the next three decades would result in a complete transformation of the global economic landscape. The transformation was led by a small, relatively obscure group within the University of Chicago’s business school and its departments of economics and political science. These thinkers — including Milton Friedman, Gary Becker, George Stigler, Robert Lucas, and others — revolutionized economic orthodoxy in the second half of the 20th century, dominated the Nobel Prizes awarded in economics, and changed how business is done around the world. Written by a leading European economic thinker, The Chicago School is the first in-depth look at how this remarkable group came together. Exhaustively detailed, it provides a close recounting of the decade-by-decade progress of the Chicago School’s evolution. As such, it’s an essential contribution to the intellectual history of our time.

“School Segregation in Southern Illinois: The Alton School Case, 1897-1908”

Illinois History Teacher Vol 12, No. 1, 2005, pp 23-26

Portwood, Shirley J.
Springfield: Illinois Historic Preservation Agency

The Movement for Industrial Education and the Establishment of the University 1840-1870

Powell, Burt E., PhD
Urbana: University of Illinois 1918

This is a history of the University of Illinois as well as a history of the industrial education movement that resulted in the establishment of a whole system of industrial universities throughout the nation. Illinois. University–History. Technical education, Education — Illinois.
Chapter headings are:

– The Beginning of the Struggle – The Illinois Plan for a System of Land Grant Colleges – The Activity of the Industrial League – Illinois Plan before Congress – Final Period of the Land Grant Proposition – The Men who Led – Seminary and College Funds and the Various Attempts to Establish an Agricultural College or State University – Illinois Accepts the Donation of Congress and Considers its Disposition, 1862- 1865 – Preparation for the Final Struggle for the Location of the Industrial University – Contest in Legislature of 1867: University Located – The Illinois Industrial University Organizes for Work – The First Two Years of University Work – First Board of Trustees and the First Faculty – Appendix (contains 28 significant documents and two tables)

Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago

Pridmore, Jay
Harry N. Abrams 1997

The Museum of Science and industry in Chicago – one of the nation’s oldest, largest, and most comprehensive museums of technology – captivates more than two million visitors a year. Since its founding in 1933, it has sought to bring before the public the full scope of the dramatic technological changes that have created the modern world. This celebratory volume is the first to make the Museum’s landmark architecture, rich history, and lively interactive exhibits accessible to readers everywhere.
Author Jay Pridmore leads an entertaining and informative tour of the Museum, featuring the incredibly diverse exhibits in five “zones” – Energy, Transportation, Space and Defense, The Human Body and Communications. Discussed and illustrated are such dramatic “icons” of the Museum’s early years as the Coal Mine, a complete working mine operation installed in the basement, and the U-505, a German submarine captured during World War II. Among the many other highlights are a full-size Boeing 727 airliner; the Apollo 8 spacecraft, which circled the Moon in 1968; an early display on the prenatal development of a human baby; and the nation’s first permanent exhibit on AIDS. As he tells the Museum’s story, Pridmore also traces the fascinating development of twentieth-century technology. Museum of Science and Industry (Chicago, Ill.)

The Sky’s the Limit: A Century of Chicago Skyscrapers

Saliga, Pauline A., ed.
Rizzoli 1990

This generously illustrated survey of the Chicago skyscraper traces the fascinating history of the great Chicago School of Architecture, which came into existence in the 1880s and influenced generations of architects worldwide. Beginning with such landmarks as the S.S. Beman Fine Arts Building of 1885 and its neighbor, the Adler and Sullivan Auditorium of 1889, the authors discuss more than a hundred extant buildings dating from 1885 through 1990, including the Wrigley Building of 1922, the Merchandise Mart of 1931, the Inland Steel Building of 1958, and the phenomenal Sears Tower, which from 1974 to 1996, held the title of world’s tallest building. The book concludes with a series of skyscrapers in progress by a new generation of architects who have a strong sense of the city’s history yet embrace modern technology and styles. Profiles of Chicago’s major architectural firms complete the volume. Skyscrapers–Illinois–Chicago. Architecture–Illinois–Chicago.

Newspapers and Periodicals of Illinois 1814-1879

Scott, Franklin W.
Springfield: Illinois State Historical Library 1910

This is a 600 page guide, arranged by towns. Indexes at the back are organized by chronology (begins 1814, on page 415), newspaper names, persons names, and counties. American newspapers–Illinois. Illinois–Bibliography.

“A very valuable part of this record is the ably written introduction (of 104 pages), in which Professor Scott traces the social and economic conditions of Illinois Territory—its population, means of transportation, education, politics, etc.—when its first newspaper was established, at Kaskaskia, in 1814, and on to a recent period. His review of the history and progress of journalism in the State is divided into five stages; the first including the decade from 1814 to the election of 1824, resulting in the defeat of the pro-slavery convention question; the second, from 1824 to the “coonskin and hard cider” campaign of 1840; the third, from 1841 to 1860; the fourth, comprising the following decade to 1870; and the fifth, to 1879. In each stage were new elements of popular opinion, new political issues, and, latterly, many new mechanical aids to the printing art, improved transportation of mails, and telegraphic facilities of inter-communication, that greatly influenced the newspaper industry.”
– Review in Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society Vol 4 1911-12, pp 110-111.

For online historic Illinois newspapers, see: Illinois History Periodicals: Magazines, Historical Journals & Newspapers

Chicago Stage, its Records and Achievements, Volume 1

Sherman, Robert L.
Chicago: Sherman. 1947

On the cover of this self-published 800-page book is this description of the contents: “Gives a complete record of all entertainment and, substantially, the cast over every play presented in Chicago, on its first production in the city, from the beginning of theatricals in 1834 down to the last before the fire of 1871.” This description of the author is also on the cover: “Fifty years in theatricals as actor, author, manager and producer. Operator of touring attractions from coast to coast and many resident stock companies. Author of Drama Cyclopedia.”

The author states in the Preface that the records here include not just, “…theatres proper, but halls where any form of entertainment was given and tents, where circus performances took place.” He says that early amusements usually originated in hotel dining rooms and graduated to halls. Theater–Illinois–Chicago–History. Performing arts–Illinois–Chicago–History.

Catalogue: Evanston Authors and Composers

Simpson, Frances, comp.
Evanston: Young Women’s Missionary Society 1900

Chicago and the American Literary Imagination, 1880-1920

Smith, Carl S.
University of Chicago 1984

American literature–Illinois–Chicago–History and criticism. Authors, American–Homes and haunts–Illinois–Chicago. Chicago (Ill.)–Intellectual life.

The Plan of Chicago: Daniel Burnham and the Remaking of the American City

Smith, Carl S.
University of Chicago 2006

Arguably the most influential document in the history of urban planning, Daniel Burnham’s 1909 Plan of Chicago, coauthored by Edward Bennett and produced in collaboration with the Commercial Club of Chicago, proposed many of the city’s most distinctive features, including its lakefront parks and roadways, the Magnificent Mile, and Navy Pier. Carl Smith’s fascinating history reveals the Plan’s central role in shaping the ways people envision the cityscape and urban life itself.
Smith’s concise and accessible narrative begins with a survey of Chicago’s stunning rise from a tiny frontier settlement to the nation’s second-largest city. He then offers an illuminating exploration of the Plan’s creation and reveals how it embodies the renowned architect’s belief that cities can and must be remade for the better. The Plan defined the City Beautiful movement and was the first comprehensive attempt to reimagine a major American city. Smith points out the ways the Plan continues to influence debates, even a century after its publication, about how to create a vibrant and habitable urban environment.
Richly illustrated and incisively written, his insightful book will be indispensable to our understanding of Chicago, Daniel Burnham, and the emergence of the modern city.

The Illinois Fighting Illini

Stewart, Mark
Norwood House 2010

“Presents the history, accomplishments and key personalities of The Fighting Illini college basketball team. Includes timelines, records, rivalries stories, maps, glossary and additional resources”

Architecture in Old Chicago

Tallmadge, Thomas Eddy
Chicago: University of Chicago 1975

“In this work, [Chicago architect] Tallmadge uses is expert skills as architect, author, and historian to weave history and architecture into a tapestry revealing Chicago’s story.” – Books cover.

“Misconceptions Concerning the Early History of the University of Illinois”

Transactions of the Illinois State Historical Library 1932, 63-90

Turner, Fred H.
Springfield: Board of Trustees of the Illinois State Historical Library

A comprehensive account of the founding and early years of the state university.

Alphabetic Catalog of the Books, Manuscripts, Maps, Pictures and Curios of the Illinois State Historical Library

Weber, Jessie Palmer, comp.
Springfield: Illinois State Historical Library 1900

The Chicago Bears: From George Halas to Super Bowl XX: An illustrated History

Whittingham, Richard
Simon & Schuster 1986

Chicago Bears (Football team)–History.

Partial Bibliography of Illinois Authors

Woodmansee, Ralph Cullom
University of Illinois 1903

Bachelor’s thesis. Authors who resided in Illinois for at least a year and published something prior to 1850.

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